France is breaking European Covid records
French Health Minister Olivier Véran said that France will report 208,000 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, breaking the previous national and European record set a day earlier. Across the continent, case numbers are exploding.
Véran announced the figure in parliament on Wednesday, saying that it had been recorded over the preceding 24 hours. Tuesday’s figure of 179,800 was already the highest daily number of cases reported in France or any other European country since the coronavirus pandemic began almost two years ago.
“The figures which will be published this evening by Public Health France show a continual increase in the number of contaminations in our country, these are figures which make you dizzy," the minister told lawmakers.
Véran said that two people in France are testing positive for Covid-19 every second, and that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is leading to a “worrying” rise in hospitalizations, while the Omicron variant is causing infections but is not yet putting the hospital system under strain.
Moreover, Véran said that an epidemic of flu infections is also threatening hospitals.
On Tuesday, the minister said that “everything suggests” that France will see as many as 250,000 daily cases of Covid-19 come January.
The surge in cases comes despite roughly three quarters of France’s population being fully vaccinated, according to data from the World Health Organization. Additionally, France has required citizens to show proof of vaccination or prior infection to enter bars, restaurants, cafes and public transportation since mid-summer. President Emanuel Macron has also refused to rule out mandatory vaccination.
While the current caseload has doubled since Christmas Day, and nearly tripled since a previous surge last November, deaths have not risen commensurately. 256 deaths with the virus were recorded on Tuesday, down from a staggering 2,000 recorded on one single day in April 2020.
France was not the only European nation to break records this week. On Tuesday, Italy topped 78,000 cases of Covid-19, Portugal recorded 17,172 infections, Greece 21,657 and England 117,093. All four exceeded previous highs in each respective country.